5th anniversary of looting of Iraq Museum commemorated

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Dr. Donny George and SAFE / Saving Antiquities for Everyone invite you to participate in the 2008 Global Candlelight Vigil to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.

In the five years since this terrible event, nearly half of the missing works have been recovered. Yet thousands of Iraq Museum artifacts remain at large. Meanwhile, museums around the world are increasingly confronted by security challenges, and rampant looting at archaeological sites continues unabated around the world.

“Now is the time for people and museum professionals to gather together: to remember the events of 2003 and take steps to ensure that no museum in the world suffers a similar fate,” says Dr. George, who is former director of the Iraq Museum and former president of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities.

In a global call to action, Dr. George urges museum directors and staff, university faculty and students, and citizens around the world to use the fifth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum as an opportunity to re-energize our efforts to protect the world’s cultural heritage.

Museums are encouraged to treat the April 10-12 timeframe every year to conduct security audits and update their internal risk management and due diligence practices. Universities are invited to treat April 10-12 every year as a time for education and public awareness about the about the academic, ethical and legal consequences of the destruction of cultural heritage with classroom projects, panel discussions, symposiums or exhibitions.

The SAFE website offers suggestions for universities, museums, community groups and others to plan an event of any size here: http://www.savingantiquities.org/vigiltools.php . SAFE Candlelight Vigil kits offer a wealth of resources including the DVD documentary “Robbing the Cradle of Civilization-The Looting of Iraq’s Ancient Treasures" (Canadian Broadcasting Company), or the documentary "Thieves of Baghdad" (Al Jazeera), or other relevant videos, including a 2007 Charlie Rose interview with Dr. Donny George as well as publicity tools.

Hosting a Vigil in your community is easy:

• Choose a location and time on April 10, 11, or 12.

• Schedule your event and post it on http://www.savingantiquities.org/hostvigil.php so that members of your community will learn of it and attend.

• Use e-cards, customizable announcement flyers, buttons, posters, postcards and the press release template available on http://www.savingantiquities.org/vigiltools.php to help publicize your Vigil and spread the word.

• Distribute the Candlelight Vigil brochure for distribution at your event. The brochure is being developed in conjunction with the exhibition "Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past" at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

• Gather with friends, family, colleagues, professors and students. Pause for a moment of silence and light a candle. Discuss the destruction of cultural heritage and looting of ancient sites around the world, fueled by the global trade in illicit antiquities.

• Document your vigil with digital photographs or video and send them to SAFE. We will use them in a compilation Video Memorial that includes gatherings from around the world

• You may also choose to light a virtual candle http://www.savingantiquities.org/virtualcandle.php and add your name to the list of other supporters.

For more information about the Global Candlelight Vigil for the Iraq Museum contact us at vigil@savingantiquities.org.

Also join our email list to receive periodic newsletters about SAFE activities: http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101412967730

SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone ( http://www.savingantiquities.org ) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that creates educational programs and media campaigns to raise public awareness about the importance of preserving cultural heritage worldwide. SAFE is a coalition of professionals in communications, media, and advertising working alongside experts in the academic, legal and law enforcement communities. SAFE has no political affiliations.

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